Concussion is an acute urgent public health concern that is occurring provincially, nationally, and internationally. Children and youth (aged 0 to 19 years) are at greater risk, take longer to recover, and may experience long-lasting effects.
A lack of public understanding of the importance of appropriate concussion management has resulted in this mild traumatic brain injury becoming a significant burden on families and society.
Quick Facts & Stats 1
Causes of concussion among children and youth
- The leading causes of child and youth concussion hospitalizations in BC were due to falls (43%) and transport-related events (39%).
- Key mechanisms of fall-related concussion hospitalizations were “fall on the same level” (16.1%) and “fall involving skates, skis and skateboards” (15.4%).
- Transport-related concussion hospitalization rates were highest for pedal cyclists (3.21/100,000) and motor vehicle occupants involved in crashes (2.30/100,000).
- Participating in sports and recreational activities is an important risk for concussion, with cycling (37.6%), playground activities (8.2%), and hockey (7.7%) being the greatest contributors.
Occurrence of concussion among children and youth
- There were 2,539 concussion hospitalizations due to unintentional injuries among children and youth who reside within BC over the 13-year period from 2001/02 to 2013/14, averaging 195 hospitalizations per year.
- Males experienced more than twice the rate of concussion hospitalizations as females at 1/100,000 compared to 12.6/100,000.
- Young children aged 1-4 years experienced the highest rate of fall-related concussion hospitalizations (6/100,000), while youth aged 15-19 years experienced the highest rate for transport-related concussions (12.9/100,000).
- Older children experienced a higher rate of sport and recreation-related concussion hospitalizations as compared to younger children, at 5/100,000 among 10-14 years olds compared to 2.1/100,000 among 0-4 year olds.
- Proportions of emergency department visits to BC Children’s Hospital were highest for both males (31.4%) and females (36.2%) ages 1-4 years, followed by 5-9 year olds and 10-14 year olds.
Cost of concussion in BC
- $2.4 million was spent on hospitalizations alone for concussion treatment in BC in 2010, for all ages.
BCIRPU researchers, in partnership with the BC Ministry of Health, have developed the Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT), the first free online tool of its kind in Canada. CATT plays a vital role in supporting physicians, health professionals, coaches, parents, and players in the treatment and management of concussion and has the potential to reduce total health care costs among concussion patients throughout BC.
Information & Resources
- Which helmet for which activity?
- Bicycle Helmet Fitting Guide – 2V1 Rule
- Snapshot of Canadian Helmet Legislation
- Ski and Snowboard Helmet Fitting Guide
The Burden of Concussion Among Children and Youth in British Columbia – BCIRPU Report (2016)
The Burden of Concussion in British Columbia – BCIRPU Report (2013)
Concussion Among Children and Youth in British Columbia – BCIRPU Report (2013)
Concussion Among Children & Youth: Fraser Health Authority
Concussion Among Children & Youth: Interior Health Authority
Concussion Among Children & Youth: Island Health Authority
Concussion Among Children & Youth: Northern Health Authority
Concussion Among Children & Youth: Vancouver Coastal Health Authority
- Rajabali F, Turcotte K, Pike I, Babul S (2016). The Burden of Concussion Among Children and Youth in British Columbia: An Update. ↩